Emmy Noether

By: Karleigh Tamillo

Emmy Noether was born in Erlangen, Germany on March 23, 1882. She was given the name Amalie, at birth, but was called Emmy by her family and peers. She was the eldest of four children, but she was also one of two children to survive past childhood. Her father, Max Noether was a noted mathematician at the time, but has been overshadowed by his daughter's work and teachings.


As a child, she spent most of her time studying languages (mostly French and English). She learned from her mother, Ida Amalie, how to properly cook, clean, and play the clavier. When she graduated from high school, she passed a test that allowed her to teach French and English at schools for young women. At the age of 18, Emmy decided to take classes in mathematics at the University of Erlangen. Because she was a women, the university did not let her take classes, but they did let her sit in on classes. She did this for two years, and finally took the exam that allowed her to be a doctoral student. After five more years of study, she was given the second degree ever given to a woman in mathematics at the University of Erlangen.
She went in search of a job teaching mathematics. The University of Erlangen would not hire her, because they had a policy against women professors. She resolved to help her father at the Mathematics Institute in Erlangen, and she began doing research there. When her father was sick, she would teach the classes. She began to publish papers on her work. At the end of World War 1, women's rights were modified in Germany, but Emmy was still not being paid for her work.
Felix Klein and David Hilbert were working on defining one of Einstein's theories at the University of Gottingen, and they felt that Noether's expertise could help. She accepted and was later given a job as a lecturer. For the first time, she was teaching under her own name, and three years later, she began getting a small salary. While she was working at the University of Gottingen, she gained a lot of "followers" that went on to become great mathematicians as well.
When Hitler came to power in 1933, Noether was kicked out of her teaching position. Her friends tried to get her a job at the University of Moscow, but she accepted a job at Bryn Mawr College in the U.S. Bryn Mawr is an institute for women. She died on April 14, 1935. Emmy had an operation to remove a uterine tumor, and died of a post-operative infection. She published over 40 papers in her lifetime.